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The Core Design Program is the foundation for all undergraduate degree programs in the College of
Design: Architecture, Community and Regional Planning, Graphic Design, Integrated Studio Arts,
Interior Design, Industrial Design and Landscape Architecture. Students are exposed to the practice of
interdisciplinary work and to the fundamental languages and practices that support all design disciplines.

Course Description

DsnS 102 is an intensive project-based course that requires a lot of time and commitment. Each project
is complex and can easily be a course in itself. Design is emphasized through critical thinking, creative
conceptualization, iterative processes, and articulate communication in the development of design

The College of Design requires that beginning students acquire a range of abilities regardless of the
program they intend to engage. There are ten primary learning outcomes in DsnS 102:

1. Critical Thinking: Thinking critically and solving problems creatively when creating design
2. Visual Organization: Recognizing, understanding and applying fundamental concepts of visual and
spatial organization in both two and three dimensions.
3. Visual Translation: Translating subjects observed and imagined through drawing, mapping,
collage, model making, and other techniques.
4. Media: Using and understanding the nature of a variety of media and material processes.
5. Research: Researching, analyzing and appraising references and resources.
6. Ethics: Awareness of the designer’s potential impact on the individual, society, and environment.
7. Communication: Demonstration of basic design literacy in verbal, visual, and written
8. Collaboration: Working with others to conceive, develop, and produce collaborative design
9. Critical Evaluation: Analyzing and evaluating one’s own design work and that of others against a
range of criteria.
10. Professional Awareness: Awareness of the unique characteristics of the design professions and
disciplines represented in the College of Design.

General Course Information

• Studio sessions (M/W or T/Th) are held in the lower King Pavilion studios.
• Course materials are available on Blackboard.
• There is a Facebook Group associated with this class, “Iowa State DsnS 102”, Please join and participate in the conversation –
there will be a lot of information posted to help you as you develop your work.
• There is a small reserve reading list for the course; these resources are available to you in the College
of Design Reading Room or via the ISU e-Library. See further information below.

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You will complete five projects in this course. The individual projects are described fully in the project
handouts and your instructor will introduce each project in detail during the semester. Due dates listed
below relate to the completion of all phases of each project.

Eight steps that move between 2D and 3D, black and white and color and that require the
creation of photographs, drawings, collages, color exercises and sculptural forms.
• Review September 24/25

Image Form Text

An exploration of visual and spatial narrative that includes re-shaping an extant text and creating
an assemblage using found objects.
• Review October 13/14

The collaborative production of a large kinetic form that engages the body, space and site; the
mobile will be developed in part through the analysis of a piece of music.
• Review November 3/4

Drawing Movement
Ten small drawings, then one large gestural drawing, inspired by the movement of the mobile
and related light and shadow patterns.
• Review November 10/11

An investigation of layers, depth, subtractive and additive construction that will result in a model
and technical section drawings.
• Review December 15/16

Keep a record of your design process for all projects. A successful end-of-year portfolio must include
process work, in addition to final project examples. Process work includes sketches, notes, photographs,
studies, and anything else you produce as you go. When in doubt, save it! Things that you initially think
are inconsequential may become important parts of your portfolio.


There will be a casting workshop the weekend of November 15-16 (November 15 9am-5pm, November
16 1-5pm.) Please save the dates and plan to participate fully.

Design Studies 102 Lecture Series

Creative professionals from the region have been invited to speak to you on a number of designated
Fridays about design and their particular practice. These important lectures will help you understand the
scope and character of the world of design. Make sure to attend on the Fridays when a speaker is
scheduled. This Lecture Series will continue into the spring, and you are invited to intend those lectures
as well. Refer to the Design Studies 102 Lecture Series poster for dates and speakers.

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Work is assessed through a sequence of critiques, frequent discussions, interim and final reviews. The
completion of each project, including your presence at every review, is necessary to pass the course, but
completion in itself will not get you a good grade. Your grade is also based on your ability to take part in
the studio working environment—to work on your projects, produce substantial design work during
your studio time and to engage in thoughtful conversations with peers and faculty.

Your studio professor governs the evaluation of your performance. Passing each project with a
minimum grade of D is a requirement for passing the course. If you fail one project you fail the course.
Not appearing at the final review for any project without an excuse is grounds for failing the project and
the course. Attendance and participation factor significantly into your grades.

There are specific grading points for each project, and your instructor will explain them in more detail.
But the basic evaluation points for the course are:

4 3 2 1

Exceptional design Good design Fair design Weak design

Exceptional craft Good craft Fair craft Weak craft

Completed beyond Complete Mostly Complete Incomplete


Extraordinary effort Strong effort Modest effort Little effort

Excellent understanding of Good understanding of Fair understanding of Assignment is not well

assignment assignment assignment understood

High level of creativity Moderate level of Low level of creativity Little evidence of
creativity creativity

Fearless investigation Engaged investigation Restrained investigation Insufficient investigation

Significant production of Some process work Limited process work Insufficient process work
process work

High enthusiasm Enthusiasm demonstrated Limited enthusiasm Little or no enthusiasm

The numbers 1-4 correspond to the standard University grading system, ie 4=A, 3=B, 2=C, 1=D. No 0
or F is represented in this chart, as this grade is given only when work is not completed, understood or
resolved at a passing level.

Each of the five projects counts as 20% of your total project grade.

Your final course grade is an average of your individual project grades and your overall performance
grade given the basic evaluation points above. The evaluation criteria for each project and for the course
are very clear and available to you on Blackboard with the rest of the course materials.

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Attendance is mandatory for each studio for the entire class period. Arriving late and/or leaving early
counts as an absence. You may have a maximum of two unexcused absences. Three unexcused absences
will result in your grade dropping by one full letter grade; five unexcused absences will result in course
failure. Written notification of absences that you believe should be excused must be given one week
prior and is subject to approval. Your instructor may require a doctor's note for absences due to illness.
Absent students are responsible for getting all course information independently and not from their
professor; choose a classmate who you can contact if you are absent.

Design Studio Culture

The design studio is a workplace, not a classroom. The studio is the central place of design education
and its operating premise is based on ongoing, self-generated work, supported by a dialogue between
student and instructor, as well as between students. Your studio is the place where, during and outside
of class, you should do your work. During studio you may move about freely, visit other studios, and
take breaks without asking permission. However, one of the intentions of the three-hour studio is to
develop concentration and stamina when you are working.

The role of your instructor is, among other things, to help you learn to think for yourself.
If you expect to find out what your instructor wants, or what constitutes the correct response, design
education will disappoint and frustrate you. Ambiguity is inherent in all creative processes, and a
diversity of approaches is expected and valued. It is assumed that you are mature, have self-discipline,
and accept responsibility for your education.

Design is a critical endeavor. The more of your work you submit for criticism, the better the critique
you receive and the better your design will become. Never take the critique of your work personally.
Good criticism is a skill acquired with practice. The critique session, either at your desk or in a public
forum, is one of the most important aspects of your design education. Differing opinions and
constructive criticism will be consistently offered. You are expected to exert yourself as a critic and you
may find that the more active you are in this role, the better your own work will become.

What you are learning will be evident in the nature of your questions and answers, your ability to take
and generate criticism, and the quality of your design work. You must work independently and produce
new work each time you meet with your instructor. The amount of time and attention you will receive
from your instructor will be in direct proportion to the amount and effort you put into it. No work, no

Iterate and reiterate. These are perhaps the most crucial aspects of design. Make three models? Make
twenty more. Is it bad? Do it again. Is it good? Do it again.

College of Design Studio Responsibility Statement

Studios in all buildings of the College of Design at Iowa State University including the Rome campus and
all satellite facilities are shared spaces for creative inquiry and production that support the development
of both individual and collaborative work.

All students must work together to maintain an ordered, respectful and productive studio environment
free of spatial, visual and sonic impediments; environmental and personal hazards.

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Materials and projects must be stored so that they do not impinge on the workspaces of others, restrict
free movement or block a designated egress passage. Waste should be regularly removed and disposed
of properly. Some materials, tools and conduct are restricted or prohibited:

Equipment and furniture are not transferable between studios. Removal of an item from a studio with
which a student is not affiliated may be considered an act of theft.

When participating in reviews, pin-ups or other group exhibition activities, students must follow
procedures established by their instructor with regard to use of the review or exhibition space. At the
completion of any such event, the space must be left clean and any equipment used must be returned to
its proper location in good working order.

At the end of every semester, students are required to participate in a studio clean-up session scheduled
by their instructor of record. At that time all leftover materials and projects must be removed. Failure
to attend and fully participate may affect student grades and incur other penalties.

Each College of Design department is ultimately responsible for costs associated with any required
additional cleaning or repairs.

Required Course Materials (listed by project)

- Toolbox
- Portfolio (18”x24” minimum)
- Black markers – a variety of thicknesses – Sharpie standard and extra-fine point as well as
Micron pens (6 pen pack with 005, 01, 02, 03, 05, 06)
- White Canson paper
- Black Canson paper
- Color-Aid Paper, packet of 220 Colors, 4.5”x6”
- White mat board or similar, white on both sides (no printing)
- Colored Canson paper
- Self-healing cutting surface, at least 12”x18”
- X-Acto knife and blades (#11)
- Scissors
- Water-based paint (acrylic, watercolor, gouache)
- Paintbrushes
- Prismacolor pens in various hues
- Galvanized wire (14 gauge or lower)
- Needle nose pliers
- Acid-free paper pad, all-purpose, 18”x24” minimum (drawing, painting)
- Roll of acid free paper, minimum 36” wide, good for graphite and other drawing media
- Graphite pencils in a range of hardnesses, 8B, 6B, 4B, 2B, HB, 2H
- White eraser
- White glue
- Recycled cardboard
- Architect’s scale
- Koh-I-Noor Lead holder
- Koh-I-Noor Leads in a range of hardnesses, 6B, 4B, 2B, H, HB, 2H, 4H, 6H

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- Straight edge
- 8” minimum 45 degree triangle
- Drafting tape

Most of these materials can be purchased at the ISU Bookstore. Many online retailers have better
prices, for example Compare prices before you buy and be proactive about purchasing
supplies in advance.


Computer stations are available in ISU Computer Labs and the shared computer lab on the 4th floor of
the College of Design.

The lower King Pavilion studios and the adjacent outdoor courtyard are available for your use when
there are not classes in session.

The Print Center is located on the fourth floor of the College of Design.

The College of Design Shop (Room 90) is located in the basement of the CoD. Sign up for an
orientation and safety short course and pay the semester fee ($40) to use the shop. You will probably
want to use the shop for the last two projects.

Reading List

Tim Ingold, Making: Anthropology, Archaeology, Art and Architecture (full text online, ISU e-Library)
Konrad Baumann, 101 Things I Learned in Architecture School (full text online, ISU e-Library)
Austin Kleon, Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative (CoD reserve)
James Eckler, Language of Space and Form (CoD reserve)
Jeffrey Balmer and Michael T Swisher, Diagramming the Big Idea (CoD reserve)


The University offers escorts between 6pm and 6am seven days a week to on-campus locations and
Greek housing; call 515-294-4444 for this service.

Students with Disabilities

Any student who has a documented disability that may prevent him or her from fully demonstrating his
or her abilities should inform their instructor as soon as possible, no later than the second week of
class, to discuss any accommodations necessary to ensure full participation.

Academic honesty

Any form of cheating and/or plagiarism will not be tolerated. Please refer to the 'Policies and Practices”
chapter of the ISU Student Information Handbook, Section XIII 'Academic Dishonesty,” for a description
of what constitutes plagiarism:, pp. 18-20
Any work that involves such activity will be result in course failure and the student will be reported to
the University.

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